Posted on: October 11, 2012

A mathematics lecture, apparently about linear...
Helsinki University of Technology (HUT) — Teknillinen korkeakoulu (TKK) in Espoo Finland.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever taken a ‘webinar’? You know, one of those ‘seminars’ that have been developed to be presented on the internet; sometimes it’s free seating, other times you reserve your seating. Some you pay to attend, but most are free.

They are usually under an hour in length, although some lectures do drone on forev… I mean take longer… Almost all invite you to interact and participate by asking questions.

Generally, it is a way of engaging potential customers or colleagues by presenting a specialty, or idea you, or your company, has, or wants to, provide. Occasionally, it is simply an ‘info-inar’, differing from the television version in that it’s actually bringing and sharing information and NOT attempting to hard-sell you a product.

Obviously, some are going to be better than others. Which means, some are going to be worse than others.

The law of averages dictate that if you attend many of these events, you will eventually see both. (But, sometimes dictation is translated incorrectly and well, the law of averages meets the law of inertia and you never see the ‘other’ kind.)

I am stuck in the inertia law right now. I sat through two, highly recommended, webinars. I wish I was stuck in the ‘better’ cycle. I have a small piece of advice to anyone out there planning to develop or create a webinar. (Whether a series, or a single one):

PLEASE chose your ‘on camera/mic‘ person with great care. You may have developed the idea; seen it through infancy and pushed it to be a bright star; but if you aren’t an engaging, quick-witted, fast-thinking speaker, you should seriously decide to hand this part over to someone else.


Sitting and listening to you organise your thoughts, shuffle your papers and/or READ from a PowerPoint (or similar) slide does not engage or entertain your audience. We start to wander. When I can simply open another window and play ‘Angry Birds’ (a game, which, btw, I have never played), and keep half-an-ear open for something interesting from the webinar I am supposed to be learning from? This tells me, either I’m choosing the wrong subjects to be interested in or the webinar isn’t very compelling. Unfortunately, for these last two, I have to say the latter.

Please, heed this simple, well-worn bit of advice:

Research your subject. Do not present regurgitated theories or already proven pathways. Reach outward. Find something new about an old subject if you must. But assume, if you’ve seen it elsewhere, so has your audience.

Have a clear idea? Have a different or clever idea? Found all your points and checked your facts? Fantastic!

Now, please, I BEG you: Write a script. ‘Winging’ it will be okay, if you are maybe showing how NOT to present a webinar. I’ll bet that would show clearly what not to do. But it’s been done to death already. I beg, be creative.

A script helps you stay focussed. You won’t jump around as you suddenly remember you forgot that in order to understand what you are talking about NOW, you needed to describe something else earlier. Stopping and explaining now, then trying to re-establish your earlier point will confuse indeed!

I do this all the time. Which is why I write. I can see what I’ve forgotten; add, subtract, or expand it, and you, dear reader, are none the wiser…

Please follow your script. If you’ve taken the time to write a really good program, why do you want to deviate from it? Did you already say that? Well? Did you? If you follow your script, you will know because you thoughtfully wrote it to include all of the tid-bits and descriptions to keep your words flowing smoothly. In the middle of your conference is not the time to second-guess your work.

PRACTISE in front of a mirror, just as if you were going to be speaking in front of a LIVE audience, (because, basically, you are! We just can’t see that you are in your underwear. Just as you can’t see that we didn’t bother to get dressed either; small bit of advice; dress with GREAT care, even if only doing voice. It gives you authority and confidence that does come through to your audience.)

Are you REALLY the person to be giving advice about ‘this’? Or speaking into it? You could be; just be sure. Sure enough to anticipate the expected questions and address them in the program itself as well as clever enough to respond to unexpected, thoughtfully expressed queries. KNOW YOUR SUBJECT. Be, either, an expert; become one; or learn how to be the best bull-sh*ter to fake sincerity. Alternatively, have the experts on hand to field the tougher questions.

Otherwise, please remind me, why am I tuning in?

luv khrys…
Who will NOT be doing any webinars, so you are safe… Although I am available to write them for you… *grin*


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